A chilling video shows a suicide bomber patting a child on the head before entering a church and detonating his explosive in Sri Lanka, part of an attack that left 321 people dead.
The series of bombings were carried out on Sunday in Sri Lanka, targeting Christian worshipers who had gathered in churches to celebrate Easter. As the Express noted, one of the killers was captured on video walking toward St. Sebastian's Church in Negombo with a large and cumbersome back pack. As the man walked toward the church, he patted a young child on the head as he continued on.
The full video can be seen in the Express report and has garnered international attention. A number of news outlets showed the grim final moments before dozens of worshippers were killed in the suicide bombing.
Officials in Sri Lanka initially said the series of suicide bombings were carried out by a small, local Islamist group and were meant to be retribution for attacks against mosques in the New Zealand city of Christchurch. Later reports connected the attackers to the Islamist terrorist group ISIS, and videos showed them pledging their allegiance to the group.
"The preliminary investigations have revealed that what happened in Sri Lanka was in retaliation for the attack against Muslims in Christchurch," said Sri Lanka's junior defense minister, Ruwan Wijewardene.
Sri Lanka has since declared a state of emergency and dispatched security forces to prevent another attack or copycat attacks. It was not clear if there are any other specific threats from the group.
Local officials are also trying to determine exactly how warnings about the planned attack went unheeded. As CNN reported, Indian intelligence services passed along warnings to Sri Lankan officials in the days before the bombing. The report noted that Delhi passed on "unusually specific intelligence" in the days and weeks before the attack, information that had been gleaned from an ISIS suspect who was arrested in India.The report also noted that Sri Lankan officials had known about the terrorist cell for at least two years and had evidence that the group was growing in size and extremism, moving from smaller-scale vandalizing of Buddhist statues to making plans for an attack that killed hundreds.
These reports have stirred up some controversy in Sri Lanka, CNN reported, with one former official saying it was "criminally negligent" that intelligence services failed to properly heed the warnings about the Easter attacks and prevent them.